How Do Horses Travel? Researchers Need Your Help!

University of Kentucky researchers are conducting a survey to gain a better understanding of the purposes and ways horses are transported.
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How Do Horses Travel? Researchers Need Your Help!
UK researchers are conducting a survey to gain a better understanding of the purposes and ways horses are transported. |Photo courtesy Erica Jacquay
When you see a horse trailer heading down the road, do you wonder where it’s headed and why? How long its trip will be? Or how the horses inside are managed? Well, you’re not alone. Researchers have the same questions, and they’re seeking horse owner input to determine the answers.

While it’s well-known that horses are transported in trailers on roads regularly, the specific reasons for travel and how horses are managed during transport aren’t well-documented. To fill in some of those knowledge gaps, researchers from the University of Kentucky (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center, in Lexington, are conducting a survey to gain a better understanding of the purposes and ways horses are transported, as well as different journey lengths and management practices involved in transporting horses on U.S. roads.

With the information gathered, they hope to conduct further research on and improve management recommendations for horses traveling in the United States.

This survey is coordinated by Erica Jacquay, graduate student and MARS Equestrian scholar at the Gluck Center, whose research focuses on equine transportation. Jacquay works under and is conducting the study with Amanda Adams, PhD, MARS Equestrian Fellow, UK associate professor, and specialist in equine immunology.

“We are interested in understanding how transportation affects horses of different ages, breeds, and health status so that we can ultimately find ways to better support horse health. This survey will provide valuable information and, therefore, we encourage all horse owners to get involved and be part of our project,” said Dan Howe, PhD, interim chair of the UK’s Department of Veterinary Science and interim director of the Gluck Center.

“As someone who has regularly transported horses, I believe that the information we learn from this survey will highlight similarities and differences in why and how horses are transported across the U.S.,” Jacquay said.

The survey is open until April 1 and can be found online at Participants must be at least 18 years old and own, lease, or be in the full care of at least one horse or pony that resides in the U.S. and has been transported at least once in the past 12 months. The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, and participants can choose to enter a drawing to win an Ethel M Chocolates prize basket courtesy of MARS Equestrian.

“We are quite excited about this survey and need the equine industry’s feedback,” Adams said. “This information is important in helping us understand more about transportation of horses, which will then help us ask relevant questions that may lead to new answers relating to how we transport horses and support their health along the way. We are thrilled about continuing our collaboration with Dr. Pat Harris from MARS Horsecare and Dr. Bridgett McIntosh from MARS Equestrian.”

The study is also being conducted in collaboration with Jill Stowe, PhD, professor of agricultural economics at UK.


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